Was it Worth it?
Remember that time when everyone was dousing themselves over their heads during The Ice Bucket Challenge for a cause? Can you believe that was FIVE years ago! August of 2014 in the US was ground breaking, full of viral videos and challenges with extraordinary results from the efforts of ordinary people.
While the origins of the first challenge are debated, the first mainstream media coverage occurred on the Golf Channel on June 30, 2014. The first association with ALS (Amotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) occurred on July 15, 2014, when professional golfer Chris Kennedy challenged his cousin, Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband had ALS for 11 years. The video quickly spread through social media, and people from all walks of life began to participate.
Within an 8-week period in 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge resulted in $115 million dollars collected to benefit the ALS Association. That is a crazy amount of money, and the number of people who contributed is staggering. It’s amazing what the American people can do with a camera phone, ice water, and $100 to prove how tough we are.
ALS is a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The nerves in the brain and spinal cord waste away and then harden. As the nerves degrade, the brain has increasing difficulty communicating to the limbs of the body, causing a loss of control of muscles, difficulty speaking, eating, and ultimately, breathing.
Scientists are trying to find medications or therapies to slow the degeneration associated with the disease to improve patients’ quality of life. They are also searching for a cure, and two new drugs are in development and are awaiting clinical trials in patients.
The Ice Bucket Challenge imprinted summer of 2014 into everyone’s minds, but what did it really accomplish? The answer is- SO MUCH!
The ALS Association has posted on their website specific dollar figures to show how they have allocated the money raised during the Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014:
- $84 million was dedicated to research and advancements in treatment and to help find a cure. Since the Ice Bucket Challenge, five new genes have been discovered, which may help scientists identify future treatments for patients. The money has also funded over 200 research projects.
- 10% of the money will go to patient and community services. The ALS Association helps educate and provide services for over 15,000 patients a year.
- Public and professional education. With newer information and more visibility of this disease with the Ice Bucket Challenge, the ALS Association was able to increase funding to treatment centers for patient care.
Authors: Stephanie Jones and Dr. Michael Azzam